This Is The Easiest Way To Cook Beans, According To Ted Allen

Beans, beans, the magical "fruit." This is a food that can divide people, but we love 'em — count us squarely in camp legume. Whether we're simmering sweet-and-savory baked beans or epazote-infused black beans or refrying some pintos, you can often find us in the kitchen working our bean magic. 

When it comes to beans, there seem to be as many ways to cook them as there are varieties of the legume. Some home cooks swear by a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, while others go the traditional route of a slow simmer. Some say not to salt the beans until they're nearly cooked, but others lay on the sodium from the get-go (via Epicurious). But the big question when it comes to bean cookery seems to be — to soak or not to soak?

When it comes to bean advice, we tend to turn to the legume maestro himself, Steve Sando, of specialty bean grower Rancho Gordo. Sando states that he often forgets to soak beans, but has a method to deal with this that will still produce creamy, toothsome beans in a reasonable amount of time (via Rancho Gordo). As it turns out, another culinary hero of ours, the Food Network's Ted Allen, swears by Sando's technique, as well. So let's take a look at how these two kitchen superstars cook their beans.

Boil those beans, then drop 'em to a simmer

Allen recently tweeted, "I've completely come around to Steve's way of thinking on cooking beans. I don't soak them, unless it occurs to me a few hours ahead. I just throw them in the pot, cover with water, hammer them on high 15 minutes, and simmer until done." The "Chopped" host was referring to a Rancho Gordo blog, in which Sando shares his go-to technique for cooking beans. Sando often forgets to soak them, so when he wants beans ASAP, he takes a different approach.

"My current, and so far fool-proof, technique is ... bring the beans and water up to a full boil and keep it there for 15, maybe even 20 minutes," he writes. "Not a gentle simmer but a rapid boil. This initial bullying makes it clear to the beans that you are in charge and there's no turning back. Then reduce the heat as low as you can take it."

This method, Sando assures, will produce perfectly cooked beans every time — no soaking needed. So, the next time you forget to soak your beans, let Sando's words of wisdom comfort you as you cook. "I promise you, you will find your groove," he said. "It takes a few pots but instead of just following directions, you're really learning to cook and this will stay with you forever."